Contract Signing: 3 Tips & 5 Basic Components

Clients Rate Lawyers on our Platform 4.9/5 Stars
based on 2,277 reviews

Jump to Section

Need help with a legal contract?

Post Project Now

Contract Signing: What Makes a Contract?

Undergoing the contract signing process with a new client, customer, or employee can be an exciting first step in the right direction. The problem? Unless you're familiar with drafting and sending out contracts, you most likely have some questions about what goes into the agreements that you're writing for others.

The first question that many small business owners have is this: What constitutes a legally binding contract? Is there something special that I must do in order to develop a contract that protects my interests as well as the party who is signing it?

The truth is that the concept of a contract is often much simpler than many business owners believe it to be. A contract is considered legally binding when:

  1. Both parties agree (in this case, by signing) to the contract's terms and conditions
  2. Value is being exchanged between the two parties signing the contract (for example, an employment contract will exchange monetary compensation and benefits in return for services being performed)

As long as you meet these two conditions, you have, more or less, created a legally sound contract that can be signed and enforced. However, it'll depend upon what type of agreement you are creating and the complexity of your agreement. To help you better understand what considerations to make when creating your own contracts, let's take a closer look at what you'll need to focus on during the contract-drafting process.

What To Include

Every contract starts with the basics, which allow you to build a solid foundation that you can expand upon later when you begin adding specific items to the type of contract you're creating. Some of the most important items to ensure that you have in your contract include:

  • The duties of both yourself and the party signing the contract : Make sure to explain all of the duties required by you as well as the duties of the party who is entering into the contract. Without a detailed explanation of what's being expected by both parties, either party involved in the contract may be able to take advantage of that missing information. When writing contracts, the language must be precise and comprehensive.
  • What the rights of both parties are : Regardless of the relationship being developed by the contract, every party has certain rights that they're allowed to exercise throughout the duration of the contract if need be. Include these rights in the contract to inform and protect the person signing their name.
  • A comprehensive overview of the value being exchanged : A contract provides everyone involved in the agreement with a clear idea of the exchange of value taking place after the contract has been finalized. Along with describing the duties, map out the value being provided by both the signing parties to guarantee that everyone knows what this new relationship will entail.
  • Any necessary warranties, disclaimers, or additional information that should be stated : If there are any details that further describe the value being exchanged or information that should be made known to the signing party, provide that information somewhere in your contract.
  • Indemnification and termination of the contract : When someone violates the terms of a contract, repercussions naturally ensue. Be careful to list out the consequences, legal or otherwise, that may arise from one party not adhering to their duties laid out in the contract's body.

The more detailed your contract, the better it is for you and for the signing party. From here, you'll want to conduct further research and enlist the help of a contract lawyer who can support you in your efforts. Why is this vital? This is due to the fact that there are major differences between various contract types.

For example, there are going to be crucial differences between the structure of an employment contract and an NDA . With the support of a contract lawyer, you can ensure that you're covering all of your bases and creating something mutually beneficial for your organization and the individual on the other end of the document.

Here is an article that dives deeper into some of these most essential aspects and talks more about using contract templates to help you get started.

Get Free Bids to Compare

Leverage our network of lawyers, request free bids, and find the right lawyer for the job.

Get Bids Now

What To Avoid

Sometimes, the best way to understand how to ensure that the contract signing process goes smoothly is to highlight some of the biggest mistakes to avoid rather than focusing solely on everything you need to include (as this is the best way to let mistakes slip past you).

Because contracts are legally binding agreements that require careful review and consideration, it's no surprise that some small businesses will have the odd mistake or two located in their own contractual agreements. Learning from these mistakes, some of the most crucial things to avoid while creating your own contracts include:

  • Confusing or nonspecific language that allows room for interpretation
  • Items that are not enforceable within a court of law
  • Accidentally sending older versions of a contract rather than updated versions
  • Typos that can cause serious issues for either party (i.e. adding extra numbers to agreed-upon compensation)
  • A lack of information regarding litigation should certain contractual obligations not be met

Avoiding these common mistakes begins with taking more time out to discover how other businesses have made errors in their own contracts and how you can learn from these errors. Here is an excellent article detailing some of the mistakes today's business owners will make when drafting contracts and what you should be wary of in your own journey.

Streamline the Process With These Tips

In today's world, contract signing is far more efficient than it was when everything had to be printed, signed, and stored away on paper. This means that pushing through agreements and getting business done is easier than ever. If you want to make doing business easier on you, here are some tips to help you streamline the contract signing process.

  • Enlist the help of a contract lawyer : Having a contract lawyer on your side is a must if you want to ensure that your contract is legally binding and written in a way that keeps you and the signing party protected. No matter what industry your business operates in or what type of contract you need to produce, a contract lawyer will help you through the process and ensure that the final product is ready to sign.
  • Turn your attention to electronic signatures : Electronic signatures have made contract signing more secure, far simpler, and more affordable due to the lack of materials involved in the process. If you're hesitant to switch over to electronic signatures and have some reservations, read this article on the benefits of e-signing.
  • Create a specific type of contract, perfect it, then reuse it for future operations : Chances are that your small business will likely use the same types of contracts to engage with customers, clients, and beyond. Once you have found a formula that works best for you, base your future contracts on this working template. This means that all you have to do is update the information for the signing party rather than having to write up a whole new contract each time.

Creating your first contracts as a small business isn't as difficult as it sounds, but it does require careful attention to detail and due diligence. To ensure that your first contract signing and subsequent signings go smoothly, use the guide above to learn more about the basics of creating contracts, what you need to include and avoid, and how you can make the process easier on you.

How ContractsCounsel Works
Hiring a lawyer on ContractsCounsel is easy, transparent and affordable.
1. Post a Free Project
Complete our 4-step process to provide info on what you need done.
2. Get Bids to Review
Receive flat-fee bids from lawyers in our marketplace to compare.
3. Start Your Project
Securely pay to start working with the lawyer you select.

Meet some of our Lawyers

View Amos
Member Since:
January 13, 2022

Amos M.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Nashville, TN
14 Yrs Experience
Licensed in GA, TN
Mississippi College School of Law

Since 2008, I have worked to assist clients in solving problems and addressing challenges that inevitably arise as a business grows - both anticipated and unexpected. My experience in Georgia and Tennessee in both drafting contracts and enforcing them via litigation and/or arbitration has provided clients with unique insights that help them anticipate problems and inform their decisions from start to finish.

View Leah
Member Since:
January 18, 2022

Leah C.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
7 Yrs Experience
Licensed in AL
Birmingham School of Law

I am an attorney licensed in Alabama and have been in solo practice for 7 years. I have experience in Contracts drafting and review, Litigation and Immigration practice areas. I am available for new projects.

View Meghan
Member Since:
January 31, 2022

Meghan T.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
3 Yrs Experience
Licensed in GA
Emory University

Meghan Thomas is an accomplished transactional attorney. She specializes in real estate transactional matters, property disputes, IP, tech and media contracts. Meghan's innovative leadership style has attributed to the firm's rapid development and presence in the metro-Atlanta market. She obtained her Doctor of Law from Emory University where she worked with the State Attorney General and litigated property disputes for disadvantaged clients. ​ Prior to practicing, Meghan negotiated complex transactions for Fortune 500 tech and healthcare companies. She lives with her family in Southwest Atlanta, enjoys cooking, travel, dance and continues to develop her research in the areas of transactional law and legal sustainability.

View Cecilia
Member Since:
January 31, 2022

Cecilia O.

Contracts Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
San Antonio
15 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CT, MD
Ghana School of Law

With 15 years of extensive transactional/contracts experience reviewing and negotiating commercial contracts including a wide variety of purchase orders and contracts and non-disclosure agreements (NDA), I believe I can immediately contribute to the continued success of your team. I have been commended for a range of valuable skills—excellent contract management and contract administration, legal research, risk analysis, drafting and negotiations, and strategic thinking. I have worked as a legal consultant for 10+ years and I have reviewed over 7,500 contracts through this position. Contracts I have reviewed include but not limited to purchase orders, commercial and construction contracts, equipment rental agreements, non-disclosure, confidentiality, vendor agreements, service agreements, site access agreements, international agreements, request for proposals (RFP), bids and government contracts. These experiences have enabled me to master the ability to work independently and expeditiously to identify and assess issues and provide legally sound recommendations, consistent with good business practices. I have led teams (sales, insurance and management) to successfully negotiate contract terms with customers. Effective Communicator and Negotiator. I am a people person, and for the past 13 years, I have acquired excellent oral and written communication skills that enable me to interact and negotiate effectively with stakeholders at all levels. I am a self-starter with a strong work ethic. I have a high degree of resourcefulness, diligence, and dependability. Most important, I adapt to changing priorities quickly, thriving in an environment with high volume and short turnaround deadlines. My experience over the years allows me to transfer my skills to all types of contracts to meet the client’s needs. I am hopeful to provide similar legal expertise, effective contract administration and leadership to your organization. It would be a pleasure to meet within the next few weeks and discuss how my qualifications, experience, and capabilities will best fit the needs of your outfit.

View Mathew
Member Since:
February 1, 2022

Mathew K.

Founding Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
7 Yrs Experience
Licensed in IL
DePaul University College of Law

Kerbis' practice includes business and real estate transactions, estate planning, and limited scope litigation consulting. Mathew has negotiated deals involving multinational corporate franchises and has collectively helped hundreds of clients with their transactional, civil litigation, and appellate legal needs. Throughout his tenure as an American Bar Association leader, Mathew has advocated for legal education reform, interviewed ABA Presidents and State Appellate and Supreme Court Justices, and lobbied Congress on behalf of the legal profession. As a law student, Mathew served as an extern for the Honorable Justice Robert E. Gordon of the Illinois Appellate Court, First District.

View Tina
Member Since:
February 17, 2022

Tina R.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Arlington, VA
15 Yrs Experience
Licensed in DC, IL, VA
Loyola University Chicago

15 years for legal experience; expertise in contracts, healthcare, ERISA, physicians, financial services, commercial contracts, employment agreements, etc. I am adept at all contracts and can provide you with efficient and quality services. I have worked at a law firm, financial services company, consulting ,and non-profit.

View Antoine
Member Since:
February 7, 2022

Antoine D.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Fort Lauderdale
6 Yrs Experience
Licensed in FL
Howard University School of Law

In his firm, Talented Tenth Law, Antoine focuses on helping people maximize their protection and prosperity in the courtroom and the boardroom. His firm’s services include representing people in lawsuits involving breach of contract, many types of civil lawsuits and helping business owners win government contracts among other things.

View Tom
Member Since:
February 7, 2022

Tom L.

Managing Member
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
15 Yrs Experience
Licensed in TX
Louisiana State University Law Center

Tom is a former chief legal officer of public and private companies. He has extensive experience in mergers & acquisitions, commercial transactions, joint ventures, finance, securities laws and general corporate law across a broad range of industries, including construction, consumer products, e-commerce, energy and healthcare. As an attorney who practiced at two different Top 50 international law firms, he can deliver "Big Law" service at a competitive price. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Tom served as an officer in the U.S. Army and attained the rank of Captain. He served a tour in Iraq where he led a reconnaissance platoon and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal.

View Craig
Member Since:
February 8, 2022

Craig Y.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
New York
26 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NY
New England Law - Boston

Craig E. Yaris is a partner at Parlatore Law Group, with the experience and drive to handle all your Franchise, General Business Practice, and Mediation needs. As a former small business owner and Chief Operating Officer of a franchisor himself, Mr. Yaris is passionate about promoting business growth. He has experience handling daily operations, employee disputes, and negotiations of pertinent contracts for a franchise company with 100 locations in five states, where he organized and conducted semi- annual meetings to educate and inform franchisees of best practices for improved growth. In addition, Mr. Yaris was responsible for the preparation and filing of the UFOC (Uniform Franchise Offering Circular) in several states and is well-versed in business formation. Between his time as Franchisor and Conflict Resolution Specialist, Mr. Yaris was the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of an online company whose goal was to help inform marketers and business owners of the fast-paced and ongoing changes within their specific verticals. This experience helped him hone his research and writing skills and prepared him for the cloud-based aspects of Parlatore Law Group. Mr. Yaris also has extensive experience in public speaking, as he has planned and delivered several keynote addresses and educational seminars for many New York-based organizations, and as a Continuing Education Instructor for Hofstra University. Prior to joining Parlatore Law Group, Mr. Yaris worked as a Patient Advocate, and more recently, a Conflict Resolution Specialist, where he mediated and resolved disputes on behalf of patients with insurance companies. In this role, he negotiated for coverage of previously denied medications and medical procedures as well as successfully mediated disputes between individuals and business partners which would have otherwise resulted in protracted litigation. In addition, he has experience mediating employer and employee disputes as well as helping resolve family conflict. He has also studied and attended many Non-Violent Communication (NVC) workshops and strives to bring these tools and methods to all of his mediations. His variety of experiences speak to his ability to handle small business needs at all stages of business growth and development. Mr. Yaris also has experience with business growth and development, as he has worked with several small business on creating and implementing strategies for steady growth. In addition, to spending time with family, Mr. Yaris volunteers his time helping spread the message of the ACLU and he supports many local charities focused on families and children. He is admitted to practice in New York.

View Amy
Member Since:
February 9, 2022

Amy P.

Principal Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Edmonds, WA
18 Yrs Experience
Licensed in WA
The University of Montana School of Law

Amy has served as outside general counsel and litigator to established businesses throughout western Washington since 2010. Her passion and focus is providing the best possible representation for clients in the construction, transportation and hospitality industries.

View Jacob
Member Since:
February 14, 2022

Jacob O.

Contracts Manager
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Iowa City
2 Yrs Experience
Licensed in MO
University of Iowa - Law

I am bar certified in the lovely state of Missouri. I received my J.D. from The University of Iowa College of Law (2019) and my B.A. in Political Science from BYU-Idaho (2015).

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now

Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call